City of Mesa holds public meeting on drive-thru regulations

Mesa officials recommended that there be limits on the number of drive-thru’s, including no more than two drive-thru’s can be located next to one another.
Published: Nov. 1, 2022 at 9:42 PM MST
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MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Changing how drive-thru’s do business has been something the City of Mesa has been looking into for months. But not all in Mesa are on board with this plan. This evening, a public meeting was held to discuss the city’s latest recommendations. “We are not eliminating drive-thru’s,” City of Mesa Development Services Director Nana Appiah said. “The target is not to elminate drive-thru’s.”

Earlier this year, the City of Mesa recommended that there be limits on the number of drive-thru’s. For example, no more than two drive-thru’s can be located next to one another, and a third can’t be within 750 feet when there are two close together. “These base-standards would guide the development of drive-thru’s,” Mesa Assistant Planning Director Rachel Prelog said. “But if there’s situations where the applicant or the developer feels like it’s appropriate to exceed these, they could request that of City Council.”

Prelog and Appiah say their research and the feedback they’ve gotten show drive-thru’s have created traffic issues and noise complaints and have made getting around Mesa more difficult. Both say the city should instead expand its number of sit-down restaurants. “If the other cities are able to attract those sit-down restaurants, we believe that Mesa is at a place where we can attract those users,” Appiah said.

But developers in the city question if that’s what those in Mesa want. “The only calls we’re getting at any of our shopping centers in Mesa, in Phoenix, in South Phoenix, is from drive-thru restaurants,” Red Mountain Retail Group representative Carol Harder said.

Harder says COVID has shifted priorities for customers and business owners to where they prefer drive-thru’s. But with the city’s recommendations, she says some drive-thru developers are looking elsewhere. To that, Appiah has this response. “We do recognize COVID,” he said. “But also, we cannot absolutely plan our city and limit our potential because some of the things that have hindered us during COVID.”

City of Mesa representatives say they plan to continue listening to public input before making any recommendations. For those interested in learning more about the situation, you can visit the ‘Special Projects’ section on the city’s website.